June 24, 2009

MEGAN MCARDLE:

Ezra wins on points. But here’s the thing: Army hospitals have all the advantages that single-payer advocates love about the VA. They’re unified. There’s no profit incentive–indeed, the doctors are on quite low salaries. They have great incentives for preventive care. They certainly don’t have any profit motive to provide bad care. So why did Walter Reed suck? And what guarantees that the VA is the system we’ll follow, rather than the multiple other dysfunctional government systems everyone hates?

And it’s not like the VA is so great. There’s the nationwide botched-colonoscopy problem, which still hasn’t been properly addressed. Then there’s that whole rogue cancer unit thing.